CIVIL WAR MEDICAL ANTIQUES
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Magnus M. Lewis, P.A.C.S., Chief Surgeon of General Pickett’s Division.
A superb salt print photograph of Confederate Surgeon
Magnus M. Lewis, Chief Surgeon of General Pickett’s Division.
Dr. Magnus M. Lewis was born in Jefferson Co.,
Va. in 1824. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia
in 1846, and set-up his practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
As Virginia and the rest of the Confederacy were
gearing up for war in early 1861, the local Alexandria Volunteer troops
marched into Manassas Junction. Surgeon Lewis was a member of this group and
upon arriving at Manassas Junction he assumed command of the Virginia
Volunteer Surgeons by the order of the Governor of Virginia. The Alexandria
troops were mustered into service of the Confederate Army on July 1, 1861
and became a portion of the 17th Virginia Infantry Regiment.
On May 5, 1862 Dr. Lewis became the Chief
Surgeon of General A.P. Hill’s Brigade and a year later on June 30, 1863, as
fate would have it just before the great Battle of Gettysburg, he was named
Chief Surgeon of Pickett’s Division. Shortly after Gettysburg, Surgeon
Lewis was appointed Medical Director of the Department of North Carolina. But
then in 1864 as Pickett’s Division was rebuilt and recalled to the Army of
Northern Virginia, Surgeon Lewis regained his position of Chief Surgeon of
that division. As the war wound down Dr. Lewis was paroled at Appomattox
Courthouse on April 9, 1865 with General Lee and the rest of the Confederate
Army of Northern Virginia.
After the war, Dr. Lewis returned to practice in
Alexandria and died in 1884.
This salt print photograph is a striking
exhibition piece as the buttons and uniform trim are lightly hand-painted
bringing out a deep contrast highlighting all of the pomp and circumstance
that was this Confederate Surgeon. His gray tunic is decorated with
surgeon’s insignia and quatrefoil running up the sleeve. An engaging
photograph of the one man who witnessed the true measure of bravery and of
defeat that was ultimately Pickett’s Division. This oval image is 5
1/4" by 7 1/4" included with the mount it is 8”x10.”